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500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late: and the Very Best Places to Eat Them Paperback – June 4, 2009


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500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late: and the Very Best Places to Eat Them + Diners, Drive-ins and Dives: An All-American Road Trip . . . with Recipes! (Food Network)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; English Language edition (June 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547059078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547059075
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description
What are the all-time best dishes America has to offer, the ones you must taste before they vanish, so delicious they deserve to be a Holy Grail for travelers? Where's the most vibrant Key lime pie in Florida? The most sensational chiles rellenos in New Mexico? The most succulent fried clams on the Eastern Seaboard? The most memorable whoopie pies, gumbos, tacos, cheese steaks, crab feasts? In 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late, "America's leading authorities on the culinary delights to be found while driving" (Newsweek) return to their favorite subject with a colorful, bursting-at-the-seams life list of America's must-eats.

Illustrated throughout with mouth-watering color photos and road maps, this indispensable guide is organized by region, then by state. Each entry captures the food in luscious detail and gives the lowdown on the café, roadside stand, or street cart where it's served. When "bests" abound--hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, apple pie, doughnuts--the Sterns rank their offerings. Sidebars feature profiles of idiosyncratic creators, recipes, and local attractions.



Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Jane & Michael Stern, Authors of 500 Things to Eat

Dear Amazon Readers,

Can you believe that when we set out to write a guide to America's best regional food 30+ years ago, there were people in the world of publishing who said it couldn't be done? Back then, the belief among gourmets (the term "foodie" hadn't yet been coined) was that this country did not have too many interesting things to eat! WRONG! We have enjoyed a mighty delicious career proving that America is one appetizing, crazy quilt of amazing things to eat. And today, nobody doubts that fact! Just turn on the TV and you can't miss some wacky TV show taking you to all the great barbecue, chili, burgers, and pizza that we love to write about.

Like the population itself, our national diet is wild, iconoclastic, silly, kitschy, devil-may-care, tradition-minded, and tradition-be-damned. 500 Things to Eat is our Life List: the best of the best; the dishes every food-savvy person needs to eat. So if you haven't yet hit the road with this guidebook in your glove compartment, please "join us" and savor for yourself the memorable meals that all those silly TV food shows can only show you.

—Jane & Michael Stern

(Photo © Todd France)



Memorable Mileposts from 500 Things To Eat Before It's Too Late: and the Very Best Places To Eat Them
(Click on Images to Enlarge)



Don't Miss Marquees

Chicken Annies in Pittsburg, KS

Burgerville in Portland, OR

Leonard's Pit Barbecue in Memphis, TN

The Cherry Hut in Beulah, MI


Must-Eat Meals

Deep Fried Hot Dogs at Rawley's in Fairfield, CT

Huckleberry Sundae at Ekstrom's State Station in Clinton, MT

Cinnamon Roll at Gus Balon's in Tucson, AZ

Barbecued Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Company in Marshall, CA



From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Veteran road dogs and James Beard Award-winning food journalists Jane and Michael Stern (Roadfood, Two for the Road) have what may be their best offering yet in this easy to use, consolidated guide to America's best off-the-beaten-path eateries. Along the way, the Sterns identify the best of everything crave-worthy: regional specialties like cheese steaks in Philly, southern sweets like banana pudding and key lime pie, as well as (admittedly subjective) national rankings for classics like ribs, burgers and French fries. They even scour elusive vendors like Connecticut hot dog wagons and San Francisco taco trucks. Other notable suggestions: a cool glass of the Latino rice milk beverage Horchata at Guelaguetza in L.A., the Northwest's best cup of coffee at Ristretto Roasters in Portland; and the best cherry pie in Michigan at Beulah's Cherry Hut. Homebodies can make do with a handful of recipes (including Cincinnati five way chili, and Massachusetts's Dirt Bomb, a cinnamon and sugar-rolled muffin), but the Sterns' lyrical and enthusiastic field reports, topped off with suggestions for after-meal exploring (Philadelphia's medical anomalies museum, New Orleans's Audobon Insectarium), should be enough to get any reader with a taste for mom-and-pop Americana hungry for the road.

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Customer Reviews

This is one of those books you just must read on a full stomach.
R. C Sheehy
This book (along with "Road Food") carried my husband and I through a 6-week trip around the country from NC to CA and back!
Kerry F. Cantwell
We have eaten at numerous places mentioned in Road Food and have had great experiences at them ALL!
Windy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On the Road Again

Once again Jane and Michael Stern have come up with a food guide, or rather a guide to places where you can get `real' food. Food that one just longs to eat -pies, ice cream, cake, ribs, just think of anything that you are warned is not health food... that is food to long for. Who wouldn't want to find the best, or the 500 things to eat before it's too late. Now whether that is too late for you or too late for these wonderful places to exist is a matter of conjecture.
The book itself is arranged in a different manner than the Sterns' other food books and most other foodie guides. First there are colored `tabs' for the different regions of the US - New England, Mid Atlantic, South, Midwest, Southwest and Great Plains and West. So you can immediately find the section of the country you want. At the beginning of each chapter is a map with the names of featured towns. Then each state list is divided into foods, such as Crumb Cake, Stuffed Ham, French Fries with the town and page numbers. Once you get used to this style it is easy to find information. The size of the book is very portable. Less than 1 inch thick and approximately 5 x 8 inches. Pages are smooth and colorful with plenty of pictures both of food and the stores themselves.
The back has two indexes; one to eateries, divided by state and city, handy if you are sitting somewhere looking for something other than golden arches and a general index which lists eateries, food, even a few recipes that are included.
Phone numbers, addresses, web sites are included - always helpful information Of course there are the reviews and information, sometimes a history or other fascinating tidbits. Better than just plain information is the poetic love of great food.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A. Vahrenkamp on December 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
I love the idea of regional American cuisine, and as I travel nearly every week for work, guides like this are a wonderful tool to help find the best local favorites. Generally speaking, this guide is excellent: colorful, descriptive, honest, and well laid out. I have no beef with the "national" sections: comparing fries, pizza, pancakes, burgers, and ribs across the country is a great way to see how varied we still are.

I have a couple of complaints, though. First, Hawaii is completely left off. While I understand that driving to the islands is difficult, any survey of American regional cuisine must include the plate lunch, Waiola shave ice, ramen shops, Leonard's malasadas, Mr. Mandoo's giant steamed Korean buns, and Dim Sum in Chinatown (admittedly, this could have been in San Francisco too).

Second, and on the same trend, Asian food gets amazingly short shrift. I'm glad that many Southwestern and Mexican specialties get a write-up, but to include only Ichiban PB and to leave off such great Asian-American classics as sushi, dim sum, pad thai and more seems wrong. Consider Chinese food, which for generations has been a mainstay of American eating. Completely missing, yet I would argue that American Chinese food is much more American than Chinese.

Third, Connecticut gets WAAAAAAY too much credit. By my count, only California (68) has more entries than Connecticut (56). Illinois (52), New York (40), Tennessee (42), Texas (54), all have fewer great food places than tiny little Connecticut. Massachusetts, with twice the population and a similar ethnic mix, has only 23 entries. I appreciate the Stemed Cheesburger and New Haven pizza, but SEVEN ice cream places (compared to 10 for the other states combined)? That's just ridiculous.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Hect on November 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We just got back from a five week road trip out west and back. This book was a great resource during the trip. We would spend a couple of days in a town and look to see what the book suggested. It was an adventure and the book provided an eating diversion from the regular hit and miss. It never disappointed, food was as described and made for destinations to see that we would not normally venture to. Well worth the purchase.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Carol Warren on February 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The food photos in this book, which should be a highlight, are awful! Although the text motivates the reader to locate and eat the dishes, the photos are a turnoff. There should also be a link to send the authors the reader's own favorite noshes. For example, if you live in Imperial Beach or Coronado in the San Diego area, the Star-Lite shack's (open whenever the owner feels like it) cake donuts are absolutely amazing. And this reader doesn't even like donuts.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Food Addict on June 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought "500 Things To Eat..." because I am a Stern's Junkie. I love these guys and the way they write up the places they visit, hear about or imagine in their minds. I don't always agree with their assessments of places or dishes but I spend hours reading and re-reading their books. Good Book, Good Price, Good Reading! )
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JOB on August 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book concentrates heavily on certain areas of the country and certain foods. There are plenty of places I would have thought to include, that aren't. Some of the places I know....I would have skipped. Some of the establishments are already gone. Not as reliable as I expected from the Sterns. I'll keep it with the travel books for a reference, but am kind of disappointed. If you plan to visit any of the establishments, I'd call to make sure they still exist!
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